Category Archives: love

Join the party! Daniel’s Husband & The Normal Heart company reunion today @ 4pm

By Terri Roberts

June is Pride month, a time of Mardi Gras-like celebration for the LGBTQ+ community that’s highlighted locally by the annual L.A. Pride Festival and Parade. The first Pride march, held June 28, 1970, was established to mark the one-year anniversary of the now infamous Stonewall uprising – an event widely seen as the launch pad for the modern gay rights movement. Fifty years later, it has become an annual, exuberant, not-to-be-missed event. (Note: The highly anticipated 50th anniversary celebration has been postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. More info)

The trouble that ignited a revolution started at 1:20am on June 28, 1969, when NYPD officers raided the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. Such raids were all too common at the Mafia-owned bar. But this night was different. On this night, the chronically marginalized, too-often dehumanized gay population who were drinking inside had had enough. On this night, they stood up and fought back. On this night, and in the nights and days and years that followed, gay men and women not only found their pride, they wore it boldly and shouted it out loudly for all the world to hear.

Today at 4pm, the Fountain is gathering together the casts of two of its most highly acclaimed productions – Daniel’s Husband (2018) and The Normal Heart (2013) – for a celebration not only of Pride month, but of the recent historic Supreme Court ruling that protects the civil rights of gay and transgender workers, and to honor the life of writer/activist/Normal Heart playwright Larry Kramer. Viewers can watch live on Zoom, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and on our website at http://www.fountaintheatre.com. The recording will also be posted and can be watched at a later date.

Fountain producing director Simon Levy directed both productions, and cast veteran actors Tim Cummings and Bill Brochtrup as lovers in both stories, each of which was centered on a different pivotal moment in the gay rights movement. The Normal Heart is Kramer’s clarion call to action against the emerging AIDS crisis in the mid-1980s. In it, Ned Weeks (Cummings) is a gay journalist and activist whose fight against the mysterious unnamed scourge running rampant through the gay community turns deeply personal when his lover, Felix (Brochtrup), a New York Times fashion writer, contracts the deadly disease. In Daniel’s Husband, Brochtrup is the eponymous Daniel, a successful architect who longs to be married to his partner of seven years, Mitchell, a marriage-phobic writer of gay romance novels that make him, as he says, “the 21st century gay equivalent of Barbara Cartland.”

Said Levy of the two actors, “After working with, and loving the work of, Bill Brochtrup and Tim Cummings in The Normal Heart, I consciously searched for another project for us. And when I read Daniel’s Husband, I knew I’d found our play and that they would be perfect for it.”

Both shows held a personal appeal to Levy, who spent many years living in San Francisco and working on the long-running, kitschy musical revue, Beach Blanket Babylon.

“When I had the opportunity to get the rights to The Normal Heart I grabbed them,” he explained, “because I wanted to pay a personal tribute to all the friends and colleagues I lost in San Francisco during the heyday of the AIDS crisis. Especially (performer) Bill Kendall of Beach Blanket Babylon, who was a good friend and co-worker, and someone I took the entire journey with. The show was a dedication to his memory, as well as (creator) Steve Silver, and so many others.

“When I read Daniel’s Husband I fell in love with it and knew it was right for the Fountain and L.A.’s gay community. Not only because it dealt with gay marriage, but because of its universal theme of loving and caring for one another. I wanted the production to be a reminder to hold on tight to each other, especially in these toxic political times, because we never know how long someone will be in our life. To live with regret is horrible, so love NOW!”

Both productions received passionate, widespread critical acclaim and extended runs. Audience reaction to both shows was deep and visceral. Many patrons saw both, and there were many who saw each play multiple times. It was also not uncommon for them to come back with friends and family members who they felt compelled to have experience the show.

The teeming post-show gatherings are something Levy remembers fondly.

“(I loved) seeing how deeply moved audiences were by both shows, and how they would congregate outside on the sidewalk afterwards to talk with the actors and share their stories of losing loved ones, or fighting to make gay marriage legal. I also loved the ‘love board’ that allowed people to pay tribute to the memory of loved ones and those they love now.”

The ‘love board’ was a giant, paper-covered plywood board that stood at the theatre’s double doors during The Normal Heart. On it, people would write love notes to, and about, the men and women who were no longer here with them. There were also expressions of gratitude and love for those who were still by their side. It was a powerful, cathartic act, and the paper was oft replaced during the extended run of the show.

In a LA Times interview from October 2, 2013, Levy made a comment about The Normal Heart and the AIDS crisis that now seems prophetic when taken in context of today’s COVID pandemic.

“People have fallen asleep again…Millions of people are dying from AIDS every year. But no one’s talking about it anymore. We’re all pretending that it’s yesterday’s illness.”

His resulting message to the public? “Don’t politicize pandemics! Be kind to each other. Love each other. We’re all in this together.”

Celebrate Pride with us and join us for the cast reunions of Daniel’s Husband and The Normal Heart today at 4pm. Watch on Zoom, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or on our website.

France-Luce Benson’s Showtime Blues explores Black love built by shared trauma and triumphs

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Playwright France-Luce Benson

This Saturday, June 27, at 5:00 pm The Fountain Theatre is proud to present a reading of France-Luce Benson’s one-act play Showtime Blues, originally presented at the Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York in 2017. Showtime Blues will be presented online as The Fountain’s final Saturday Matinee program for June and will feature Cecil Blutcher, Suzette Azariah Gunn and Matt Kirkwood. Saturday Matinees will take a break in July, returning with France-Luce in August.

France-Luce produces and hosts Saturday Matinees and has generously presented several readings of her own work for our patrons enjoyment, including our May 20th reading of  Detained,  her powerful piece commissioned by the ACLU that featured the Tony-nominated actress, Kathleen Chalfant.

We wanted to take the opportunity to discuss Showtime Blues with France-Luce as it is a powerful piece of theatre in perfect pitch with the current moment and is part of a body of work in which France-Luce explores her identity as a Black American of Haitian descent, and examines broad socio-political concepts from the perspective of intimate human relationships.

Q: When did you write Showtime Blues? Did it arise out of one particular experience or in response to a lifetime of experiences?

FLB: I wrote it in 2016. That year, Alton Sterling and Philando Castille were killed by police. Prior to that…Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Micheal Brown…the list goes on and on. I was hurting, and angry, and terrified for my community. I have three brothers, a nephew, dozens of cousins — I couldn’t imagine how anyone could ever view them as a threat. Like all the black men in my life – they are loving, gentle, hard working, family men – they care about their communities, they are human and deserve so much better than what this country gives them. We all do. All of this was stirring in my head and heart. I didn’t know what the play would end up being, but I knew I needed to explore it, work through it, and I wanted to celebrate Black love in a way that transcended romance. I wanted to celebrate the love we as Black people have for one another, based on our shared trauma and triumphs.

Q: I’m curious about the secondary theme in the play which explores the way folks judge one another on appearances and stereotypes.

FLB: As a first generation American, I’m interested in the way we (black and brown people) “Other” each other; and I always believe that as individuals we need to hold ourselves accountable. Both Ameira and Demetrius are quick to judge, and maybe they’re justified. She’s getting hit on by some dude on the train, and he’s being dismissed by someone who can’t even be bothered to look at him – literally. They have both been conditioned by a sexist, racist society. The incident that they experience together exposes their vulnerability. That vulnerability is what interests me most. It is that vulnerability that many of us, black and white, often fail to see in each other. And certainly law enforcement officers – they see black and brown bodies void of vulnerability – void of humanity.

Q: It seems that this moment provides a unique window for artists of color to be heard and seen.  What would you like your white friends and colleagues to understand about your experience as a black female artist in America?

FLB: I’d like them to truly understand how far reaching, how expansive, how insidious white supremacy is. My voice and stories matter as much as anyone else. The lack of opportunity artists of color experience is a result of  systemic institutionalized racism. White people need to understand this country’s history, and then maybe they’ll begin to understand my experience. I’ve been writing a trilogy about the Haitian Revolution, and I’ve often been told that my cultural experience is not relevant to Americans. But I challenge anyone reading this to study the Haitian Revolution and tell me it’s not part of America’s history. The problem is, Americans have been in denial about a lot of her history; I would like my white friends and colleagues to investigate the ways they have been in denial.

Q: As a Black American. What makes you hopeful?

FLB: This new generation of activists makes me hopeful; the current uprising, the fact that white people seem more willing to listen and take real action.

The Cast

Cecil Blutcher: Regional Theater: Pipeline (Actor’s Theatre of Louisville); Petrol Station (The Kennedy Center). NYC: The Hot Wing King (Signature Theatre); Tempo (Ensemble Studio Theatre); Showtime Blues (Ensemble Studio Theatre). Film: Premature (Dir. Rashad Ernesto Green); Skin (Dir. Guy Nattiv); Sketch (Dir. Mariama Diallo). Television: The Good Fight (CBS All-Access); Random Acts of Flyness (HBO). Training: M.F.A. (Penn State). Website: CecilBlutcherCreates.com

Suzette Azariah Gunn is an actress, writer, director from New York. She has a degree in acting from Howard University and Oxford University. She has recurred, starred and guest starred on television and been in film and Theater across the US. Most recently 21 Bridges film and Nya in Pipeline at Cleveland Playhouse. Honors- Los Angeles Film Award Best Ensemble, Golden Door International Film Festival Nominated Best Lead Actress, NBC Diversity Showcase,  Named Up and Coming Actress to watch, Best Supporting Actress Planet Connections,.- For more info suzettegunn.com

Matt Kirkwood has been an actor and director in Los Angeles theatre for the last 30+ years. He was last seen in The Fountain’s production of HUMAN INTEREST STORY, and in the live stream reading of DETAINED.

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VIDEO: House Manager Richard Horton loves his job, and the people he greets at the Fountain

House Manager Richard Horton loves his job at the Fountain Theatre. You’ll love Richard after watching him work behind the scenes, greeting patrons, and serving as the Fountain goodwill ambassador.

Fountain Theatre shows LA Pride with hit play, workshop, book signing and LGBT new works

FT Pride flagFor many folks throughout Los Angeles, June means the end of school, the pageantry of graduation ceremonies and the long awaited start of summer. For the more than 600,000 LGBT citizens in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, June is LA Pride Month, when the city bursts into rainbow colors and Angelenos everywhere celebrate equality and inclusion with festivals, parades and special events saluting the LGBTQ+ community.

The Fountain Theatre embraces Pride Month with a busy June that highlights several LGBTQ+ events, including the acclaimed run of a hit play about gay marriage, a discussion and book signing by a lesbian author, a workshop production of a new play by a gay playwright centered on a transgender character,  and an evening of short dramatic works by women, trans and queer performing artists in the LA community.

LA Pride Events at the Fountain Theatre

Daniel’s Husband  – The acclaimed Southern California Premiere of Michael McKeever’s funny and poignant new play on gay marriage is a bonafide smash hit, earning rave reviews everywhere and sold-out houses nightly. Extended to July 28.  More

Body Beautiful – A workshop production of Leigh Curran’s new play on love, aging and gender confusion. June 5-6, 12-13 @ 8pm. More

The Essential Guide to Gay and Lesbian Weddings – A Q&A discussion and book signing with author and film producer Tess Ayers. More

Sorority – An evening of new short works by women, trans and queer performing artists in the LA community. June 20, 8pm & 10pm. More

VIDEO: Funny and poignant ‘Body Beautiful’ explores love, aging, and gender confusion

The Fountain Theatre will host a workshop production of a new play by Leigh CurranBody Beautiful on June 5-6 and 12-13 at 8pm.

Thayer, a 72-year-old, gay psychotherapist and his ex-wife and great friend, Emma, decide to move back in together to take care of each other through their old age. Emma is still secretly in love with Thayer but does her best to hide it until Thayer and one of his patients – a Mexican-American transman, fall in love throwing sexual orientation, gender identity and true love into question for all concerned. It’s funny, deep, thought provoking and humanizes the struggle between hatred and acceptance in very original and memorable ways.

What is a workshop production? It is the next step in a new play’s developmental process. Although still a work-in-process, the actors will be off-book with the play fully memorized. Using simple props and costumes, the play is performed on the set of our current production of Daniel’s Husband.

Body Beautiful is directed by John Achorn, with Alex Alpharaoh, Leigh Curran, Geoffrey Rivas, Marcelo Tubert.

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Smash hit ‘Daniel’s Husband’ extends to July 28 at Fountain Theatre

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Tim Cummings, Bill Brochtrup and Jenny O’Hara in Daniel;s Husband.

The Fountain Theatre’s acclaimed Southern California Premiere of Daniel’s Husband by Michael McKeever will extend to July 28. Hailed as Critic’s Choice in the LA Times and highlighted as Ovation Award Recommended, the comedy/drama about a gay couple wrestling with the issue of marriage has earned rave reviews and sold-out houses from the night it first opened May 4.

There is the rule of law, and there are the laws of the heart. Which do we follow and when? Daniel and Mitchell are the perfect couple. What isn’t so perfect is that Daniel desperately longs to be married, but Mitchell doesn’t believe in it. Michael McKeever’s funny, passionate and poignant play takes an unflinching look at how we choose to tie the knot — or not.

Daniel’s Husband is directed by Simon Levy, starring Bill Brochtrup, Tim Cummings, Jose Fernando, Ed Martin, and Jenny O’Hara.

CRITIC’S CHOICEABSORBING… THE ACTORS ARE WONDERFUL… [ACROWD PLEASER” — Los Angeles Times

A PERFECT 10WITTY, REALISTIC, HEART-RENDERING” — Broadway World

GO SEE DANIEL’S HUSBAND’… THESE ARE SOME OF THE FINEST ACTORS IN L.A.” —KCRW 89.9 FM

AS CLOSE TO PERFECT AS ONE MIGHT ENVISION…. WRENCHING, REAL, FLAWLESSLY STAGED, STIRRINGLY PERFORMED” — Cultural Weekly

OUTSTANDING… PERFECTLY SCRIPTED. ACTED AND DIRECTED” — Culver City News

A REMARKABLE SCRIPT… TRUE LIFE, TRUE FRIENDSHIP AND TRUE DESPAIR” —Discover Hollywood

SUPERIOR… AN EXCITING PIECE OF QUALITY THEATRE” — Hollywood Revealed

WOW!… [ALAUGH-OUT-LOUD-THEN-GET-OUT-YOUR-HANKIES STUNNER… NOT-TO-BE-MISSED” — Stage Scene LA

EXQUISITELY WRITTEN, SUPERBLY DIRECTED AND EXCELLENTLY PERFORMED” —Will Call for Theatre

TREMENDOUSLY ENTERTAINING AND WELL-WRITTEN… A TERRIFIC SHOW” — Los Angeles Post

RELEVANT AND AFFECTING” — Stage Raw

ABOUT LOVE… the ABSOLUTE BEAUTY of McKeever’s story rings true” — On Stage Los Angeles

INSISTENTLY MOVING… CRISP AND TIMELY” — People’s World

A FINE PLAY WITH SOMETHING TO SAY… EXCELLENTLY PERFORMED” — San Diego Gay & Lesbian News

TWO THUMBS UP” — Carol’s Reviews

RESONATED LONG AFTER THE FINAL MOMENTS” — Showmag

RELEVANT AND UNIVERSAL” — Stage and Cinema

A VERY FINE PRODUCTION” — Talkin’ Broadway

GUARANTEED TO LEAVE YOU MOVED AND EMOTIONALLY EXHAUSTED” — Ticket Holders LA

BREATHTAKING… A TRULY EXCEPTIONAL CAST… TIMELY AND PROVOCATIVE” — Billy Masters.

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VIDEO: Actor Jose Fernando makes his LA stage debut in ‘Daniel’s Husband’ at Fountain Theatre

VIDEO: Actor Tim Cummings comes home to the Fountain Theatre for ‘Daniel’s Husband’

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Video: Actor Ed Martin’s return to the Fountain Theatre in new play ‘Daniel’s Husband’ is “perfect”

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Meet the cast of the funny and powerful premiere of ‘Daniel’s Husband’ at Fountain Theatre

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Bill Brochtrup and Tim Cummings

Actors Bill Brochtrup and Tim Cummings, co-stars of the Fountain Theatre’s acclaimed 2013 production of The Normal Heart, will reunite for this season’s Southern California Premiere of Daniel’s Husband by Michael McKeever. Simon Levy, who helmed The Normal Heart, will direct. Daniel’s Husband opens May 4th.

Brochtrup and Cummings are joined by LA favorites Jenny O’Hara and Ed Martin. Jose Fernando makes his Fountain debut. 

Daniel and Mitchell are the perfect couple. Perfect house, perfect friends — even a mother who wants them married. They’d have the perfect wedding too, except that Mitchell doesn’t believe in gay marriage. A turn of events puts their perfect life in jeopardy, and Mitchell is thrust into a future in which even his love may not be enough. Daniel’s Husband is a bold reflection on love, commitment, and family in our perilous new world.   

The recent Off-Broadway production earned rave reviews. The New York Times hailed it as “Compelling”, the Huffington Post declared it was “Emotionally charged,” and the Daily Beast described it as “Beautiful and powerful.” 

bill-brochtrupBill Brochtrup (Daniel) appeared Off-Broadway in Secrets of the Trade at Primary Stages, Lost and Found at FringeNYC, and Snakebit at the Century Center. He’s acted with many LA theatre companies including South Coast Repertory (The Sisters Rosensweig, Shakespeare In Love, Noises Off), Antaeus Theatre Company (Cloud 9, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Peace In Our Time) Rogue Machine Theatre (Les Blancs), Fountain Theatre (The Normal Heart). His many TV appearances include five seasons as savvy police psychologist “Dr. Joe” on Major Crimes, Shameless, Kendra, Dexter, and In the Life. Bill was a series regular on Public Morals, Total Security, and ten years as cheerful administrative aide “John Irvin” on NYPD Blue. He is the Co-Artistic Director of Antaeus Theatre Company. 

TimTim Cummings (Mitchell) recently earned his Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Antioch University. He is the winner of Critical Read’s 2018 ‘Origins’ literary contest for his essay “You Have Changed Me Forever.” He is the recipient of three LA Drama Critics Circle Awards, for Dan O’Brien’s The House in Scarsdale: A Memoir for the Stage (2018 PEN American Award for Drama) at Boston Court, Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart at The Fountain, and Enda Walsh’s The New Electric Ballroom at Rogue Machine. Selected LA: Cal in Camo with Red Dog Squadron at VS Theater; Need To Know at Rogue Machine, The Woodsman at Coeurage (StageSceneLA Award for Performance of the Year); Reunion and Eurydice at South Coast Rep, Hamlet and The Winter’s Tale at Theater 150, WAR and The Walworth Farce at Theater Banshee, Tartuffe at Boston Court, The Pursuit of Happiness at Laguna Playhouse. Bway & Off-Bway: The Guys directed by Jim Simpson, Frankie & Johnny in the Clair de Lune directed by Joe Mantello. Film/TV: Can You Ever Forgive Me, Grimm, Rosewood, Kensho at the Bedfellow, Criminal Minds, My Two Fans, Presence, The Box, etc. He holds a BFA in Acting from NYU.

Fernando_Page_1Jose Fernando (Trip) From the tropics of Costa Rica and the waters of Niagara Falls, Jose appeared in Breckenridge Theatre’s world premiere of  The 10th . He was seen on Disney Channel’s Disney 365 and on ABC’s Black-ish and Once Upon A Time . He currently has commercials in the works with Google and other tech companies.

 

Ed MartinEd Martin (Barry) has worked in theatres all over the country including Denver Center Theatre, The Arizona Theatre Company, Theatreworks, and the Laguna Playhouse. Favorite LA credits include work at the Boston Court, the Colony, the Davidson/Valentini, the Odyssey, the Hudson and Theatre 40. Ed is the recipient of the Ovation, Stage Raw, LA Weekly, Dramalogue and Robby Awards. TV and film credits include Angels and Demons, directed by Ron Howard, American Crime, Castle, Medium, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and many others.

Jenny O'HaraJenny O’Hara (Lydia) is best known to Fountain audiences as originating the role of Maude Gutman in the smash hit Bakersfield Mist. She co-starred on Broadway opposite Alec Guiness in Dylan. Other Broadway credits are The Fig Leaves are Falling, Promises, Promises, The Odd Couple (female version), and The Iceman Cometh. On TV, she’s been seen on Transparent, The Mindy Project, The King of Queens, and Big Love, and guest appearances in Mike and Molly, Hot in Cleveland, Rizzoli and Isles, The Closer, NCIS, CSI, House, Nip/Tuck, Six Feet Under and numerous others. Films include BFF, Sassy Pants, The Seven Psychopaths, Devil (M. Night Shyamalan), Mystic River (Clint Eastwood), Matchstick Men (Ridley Scott), Extract, Forty Shades of Blue, Two Weeks, How to Make Love to a Woman and Heartbeat

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